Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS) and Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWM) will begin changing the way they take in stray and/or unwanted cats, giving them a better opportunity at getting a second chance. Starting August 17, KCAS (our government-funded, open admission shelter) will only be accepting stray cats; HSWM will only be accepting owner surrendered cats. HSWM and KCAS expect this change will positively affect the live release rates of Kent County and continue to collaborate to improve the outcome for all animals brought to them. In the last few months, KCAS and HSWM, the two largest shelters in Kent County discussed community statistics on feline euthanasia and feline intake into both facilities. HSWM has been successful with placement of owner surrendered cats, but does not have the kennel space and set up for holding stray cats. Often, KCAS is near- or at- capacity for cats due to a mandated stray hold. If space is limited, owner-surrendered cats aren’t placed for adoption; they are euthanized. Historically, the majority of KCAS’s cat intake has been stray cats and HSWM’s cat intake has been owner surrendered. “Communities that have a municipal and non-profit shelter working side by side sometimes find it beneficial to enact policies and procedures to direct all owner surrender cats to the non-profit shelter while the municipal shelter only takes in strays,” said Carly Luttmann, Program Supervisor at KCAS. “We are hopeful that by implementing this strategy, we will see a higher success rate for placement of adoptable owner surrender cats at HSWM and a high success rate for placement of adoptable stray cats and more successful return to owners of stray cats at KCAS. It also makes sense for the public to just have one place to go looking for their lost cats.” With the new BISSELL Cattery Enrichment Center, HSWM has seen an increase in the amount of owner surrendered cats who are able to be adopted. “Typically cats coming into a shelter situation need some time to adjust,” said Namiko Ota-Noveskey, Director of Animal Behavior and Care. “We have been successfully able to place cats that are a bit shyer and just need some time to get used to their new surroundings.” HSWM manages their admission and asks the public […]
Kent County Animal Shelter
“Project 616” to graduate its first class of previous shelter dogs The Kent County Animal Shelter has teamed up with Whiskers University, Whiskers Resort and Pet Spa and Vicky’s Pet Connection for a great new program to highlight the value of shelter dogs as companions and prepare them for a successful, life-long adoption. “Project 616” is a six-week long, residential training program at Whiskers University for dogs taken from the Kent County Animal Shelter, who are then eligible for adoption through Vicky’s Pet Connection. The mission of the program is to change public perceptions that dogs in rescue/shelter situations are unwanted because of behavioral or health issues, and to encourage the personal rewards of rescuing a dog. The Kent County Animal Shelter received about 2600 stray or unwanted dogs last year. “Many people drop off their dogs because of behavioral issues, such as chewing household items, making ‘accidents’ inside the house, or excitability issues,” said Carly Luttmann, Kent County Animal Shelter Supervisor. “It’s heartbreaking. But a program like this can turn around those bad behaviors. We are fortunate to have the support and partnership with Vicky’s Pet Connection, Whiskers University/Resort and Spa.” Whiskers University training is comprehensive and caring. “We all know that a well-behaved dog makes for a happier home, but how we train matters,” says Kristie Swan of Whiskers University. “Improper methods jeopardize progress and well-being. Training rooted in science while conducted with compassion and respect builds stronger relationships with greater opportunities for success and life-long placement.” Success hinges on selecting the right families for adoptions. “Dogs in this program learn to correct their unwanted behaviors, and their new families are given guidance to better understand their dog and continue their progress,” says Shannon Reincke of Vicky’s Pet Connection. “‘Project 616’ offers us the opportunity to understand the dogs’ individual personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, and what type of family environment they will likely thrive in. When interviewing potential families, we take into consideration expectations, household dynamics, and willingness and availability to continue with training.” One of the dogs is already being adopted: the five remaining dogs will be available through Vicky’s Pet Connection. More about Project 616 can be found at www.project616.com.
Valley View Elementary has big hearts! Not only for each other, but also for pets and animals. On February 14, 2011, Mrs. Reinert’s class hosted the Kent County Animal Shelter. The students listened to the presentation on what they do at the shelter and they learned how to handle and pet animals. The class also presented the shelter with new leashes, dog food, dog bowls, towels and many more donations that they had been collecting. The students loved to meet and see the dogs and learn safety with stray animals.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is offering free spay and neuter services for all cat adoptions, for one week only, valued at up to $70. This program is a partnership between Vicky’s Pet Connection (VPC) and the Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS). VPC and KCAS have been teaming up, providing services to help find homes for adoptable pets since 2000. VPC is a nonprofit animal rescue group, established in 1998, that has agreed to pay the spay/neuter fee on all adopted cats. Typically, male cat-neutering fee is $55 and a female cat spay fee is $70. However, for this coming week, it will be free. This ultimately lowers the adoption price to only $50, which covers a feline leukemia/FIV test, RCPC vaccination and a microchip ID implant. “We are proud of our community partnership with Vicky’s Pet Connection, and this program is a great initiative to help our homeless cats find loving homes,” said Cathy Raevsky, administrative health officer for KCHD. “Most important, spaying and neutering your cat is part of responsible pet ownership, and it helps cats live longer and healthier lives.” The free spay and neuter services for cat adoptions runs through Saturday, Feb. 19. The event will take place at the KCAS, 740 Fuller Ave. NE, Grand Rapids. Adoption hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday. To search adoptable cats at the KCAS, please visit Petfinder.com. For more information about VPC, please visit www.vickyspetconnection.org or the Critter Cottage at 7205 Thornapple River Dr., Ada, Mich.